Honor for His Role in Simulation Training

Dr. Wang teaching a technique on a simulation mannequin.

Before seeing their first patient, physicians must undergo years of rigorous medical training. At NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore), that includes instruction in the world-class Grainger Center for Simulation and Innovation (GCSI) where students practice their skills on mannequin simulators paired with virtual reality software. Over 4,000 nurses, medical students, residents, physicians, technicians and first responders from the surrounding communities have received simulation training at NorthShore during the past year alone.

Now the Director of GCSI, Ernest E. Wang, MD, is being honored with an endowed chair, the highest tribute in medical education, at an August 22 Investiture when he will be inducted into  The Alvin H. Baum Family Fund Chair of Simulation and Innovation. (Bernard G. Ewigman, MD, Chairman of Family Medicine, is being also invested for the Owen L. Coon Chair of Family Medicine on that same date.)

The awarding of the chair for Dr. Wang is “extremely significant” because it elevates him and his accomplishments locally in the community and at the national level, said Joel Friedman, President of The Alvin H. Baum Family Fund. Friedman is charged with carrying out the legacy set forth by Alvin and Ann Baum, a couple who supported NorthShore during their lives and posthumously with the naming of the Family Fund that has been a staple of philanthropic support at NorthShore for many years. 

“Dr. Wang is a nationally recognized leader in emergency medicine and simulation and this chair recognizes that,” said Friedman, who has watched the learning and training simulation centers grow at NorthShore over the years. “The Baum Family Fund has been a generous and loyal supporter of NorthShore Highland Park Hospital and the NorthShore organization for over 20 years,” he added.

The Baum’s support initially began with gifts for NorthShore’s simulation center at NorthShore Highland Park Hospital with the purchase of human simulators, an ultrasound machine, funding for medical staff support and an estate gift for the Rehabilitation Medicine Fund. The lab grew out of a team collaboration led by Morris Kharasch, MD, Pamela Aitchison, RN, and Dr. Wang. Significant support from Jeffrey Graff, MD, and Jorge del Castillo, MD, in the Division of Emergency Medicine and Nancy Semerdjian, RN, in the Department of Nursing helped provide the foundation that allowed the program to flourish. That lab grew from one simulator in a small space to a multi-campus state-of-the-industry learning center that includes the GCSI at NorthShore Evanston Hospital and the original learning center and lab at NorthShore Highland Park Hospital.

“A lot of hospitals don’t have facilities like NorthShore,” said Friedman, who thinks physicians cannot be proficient in today’s medical landscape without such training, which is mandatory for experienced physicians who are undergoing continuing education to keep up their skills. “The simulation labs go hand in hand with patient safety and an exceptional patient experience.”

“This Endowed Chair of Simulation and Innovation demonstrates that our already stellar lab is recognized for the meaningful work our team has done and gives us confidence in our current and future goals, “ said Dr. Wang. “In our simulation training, we advocate that teamwork and communication skills are as important as technical skills in the provision of excellent patient care. Similarly, a robust simulation program requires a dedicated team with a shared mission. We are fortunate to have such a visionary donor and steward in Mr. Friedman. He recognized early on that this multidisciplinary interprofessional team concept was critical to the success of our program and it is an honor to be the beneficiary of the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund’s generous philanthropic investment to establish this new Chair at NorthShore.”  

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